BIG has partnered up with ICON, a developer of advanced construction technologies, and with SEArch+ (Space Exploration Architecture) to imagine humanity’s home in another world. Working with NASA, the collaboration seeks to develop a “space-based construction system that could support future exploration of the Moon”.
Teaming up with ICON, developer of advanced construction technologies that advance humanity including robotics, software, and building materials, and SEArch+, a startup developing human supporting design concepts for space exploration, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group will be in charge of designing the Project Olympus. With the Moon being the first off-Earth site for sustainable surface exploration, through the Artemis program, the venture, funded by NASA, aims to generate the first construction system to support future exploration of this satellite.
In fact, Project Olympus is “a sustainable lunar habitat that will be the first human foray into extra-terrestrial construction with robust structures that provide better thermal, radiation, and micrometeorite protection than metal or inflatable habitats can offer”. In order to make humanity a spacefaring civilization, the project explores all the needed components, from landing pads to habitats.
To explain the power of architecture, "formgiving" is the Danish word for design, which literally means to give form to that which has not yet been given form. This becomes fundamentally clear when we venture beyond Earth and begin to imagine how we are going to build and live on entirely new worlds. With ICON we are pioneering new frontiers – both materially, technologically and environmentally. The answers to our challenges on Earth very well might be found on the Moon.
— Bjarke Ingels, Founder and Creative Director, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.
BIG’s second project in outer space following Mars Science City, Project Olympus, like its precursor, will address 8 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, related to the built environment. On another hand, building upon technology ICON demonstrated during NASA’s 3D Printed Habitat Challenge in 2018, ICON, in partnership with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, will “help design, develop, and demonstrate prototype elements for a possible future full-scale additive construction system that could print infrastructure on the Moon”. Recognized on a global scale for innovative ‘human-centered’ designs for space exploration, SEArch+ has over a decade-long association with NASA’s Johnson Space Center Human Habitability Division, Langley Research Center, Ames Research Center, and leading aerospace corporations.
Building on our experience with BIG’s Mars Science City, we are working to develop the first permanent structure on the Moon resilient to the hostile lunar environment where the cost of payload transportation requires rigorous efficiency. We have explored various building forms ideal for containing atmospheric pressure and optimized for protection from cosmic and solar radiation. The habitat will be designed with the inherent redundancy required for extraterrestrial buildings, while also using groundbreaking robotic construction that uses only in-situ resources with zero-waste left behind. With the technologies and efficiency parameters developed for the construction of extraterrestrial buildings, Project Olympus will also help us to build sustainably on planet Earth as we strive to reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment.
—Martin Voelkle, Partner, BIG.
- Type: Commission
- Size: 195.5m2
- Location: Moon
- Client: ICON
- Collaborators: NASA, SEArch+
- Partners-in-Charge: Bjarke Ingels, Martin Voelkle
- Project Leader: Julian Ocampo
- Team: Siqi Zhang, Rasam Aminzadeh, Jenna Dezinski, Fabian Lorenz, Guillaume Evain, Jakob Lange